1. Fear of abandonment… one of their greatest fears and emotional triggers in relationships.
2. Denial… love addicts enter relationships in denial- denial of their partner‘s reality, the relationship, and the self. When this denial begins to crumble, withdrawal symptoms occur.
3. Impaired Self Worth-Toxic Shame… through internal feelings of shame, love addicts have difficulty validating their inherent value and worth, have a distorted reality and beliefs about themselves and about love & intimacy; problems of anger, isolation, depression. Some behaviors that display this core issue include:
* Fear of intimacy (above)
* Rejecting someone who
wants to get close
4. Unrealistic expectations… love addicts go into relationships with unrealistic and expectations that no one can live up to, even their avoidant partner.
Because the love addict has difficulty meeting his or her own needs --- the unrealistic expectations that one person will meet all of their needs; to take care of them emotionally, physically, or financially--- to fill their inner void, take away their fears, anxieties, and unbearable feelings of shame and low self esteem away... it consumes them.
They tend to expect one person to be completely at their disposal and expect more from a relationship than any relationship can deliver. They fall for the Hollywood-inspired fantasy that their perfect lover should love me no matter what.
Then when their partner fails to meet these expectations, they feel betrayed, frustrated, angry; and eventually form a conclusion that the expectations aren’t being met because they’ve done something wrong- they turn it on themselves.
5. Boundary impairment… love addicts enter relationships with invisible boundaries- this can be displayed by tolerating intolerable behaviors form another person; being too open in the initial stages of meeting someone; smothering their partner; making demands; extreme neediness.
Boundary impairment is also apparent by the difficulty of identifying their right to have one’s own opinions, beliefs, and feelings; including protecting the ‘self’ with healthy personal boundaries.
The problem is NOT about your partner... the problem are these core issues that have fueled most of us into our toxic dependency.
Most of us have grown up in a dysfunctional family dynamic or have had traumatic or abusive experience is also likely to foster this problem of loving obsessively.
We need to understand where our love-addicted issues came from and to identify false beliefs about ourselves and relationships that continue to foster dysfunctional patterns.
If we do not examine why we think, feel, and choose the things we have, recovery is unlikely to succeed. When we come to recognize and clearly identify them, we become more able to let them go through the treatment process and become more able to establish healthy behaviors.
We become able to establish healthy boundaries, express them clearly, how and when to share appropriately, be accountable, and express authentic love.
We need to learn how to hug our feelings and emotions instead of ignoring, minimizing, or beating ourselves up for having feelings.
When we can learn to honor, embrace our emotions, and listen to the message that each emotion carries, we can begin to reverse our self-critic and dependency on others.
With time, patience, and commitment to changing for the better, we can learn other behavioral options from which to choose instead of being locked into old, dysfunctional familiar patterns.
Our addiction to love is an insidious and cunning disorder. Despite this, there is hope… there is a way out!